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December 23, 2017

Pakistan Open to have an all-Egypt final


December 23, 2017

ISLAMABAD: It will be an all-Egypt final in the $50,000 Pakistan Open Squash as Marwan El Shorbagy and Mohamed Abouelghar lived up to their seeding, winning their respective semi-finals in contrasting styles at the Mushaf Ali Mir Complex here on Friday.

World No 5 Shorbagy was in ruthless form and came out clean with a straight game 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 win over his countryman Zahed Mohamed. World No 11 Abouelghar had to exert a little in disposing of Hong Kong’s Leo Au, beating him 11-9, 12-14, 11-4 and 11-6 following a one-hour tussle at the Centre Court.

Watched by great Jahangir Khan, Shorbagy gave a modern display of his nimble-footed approach, taking the full measure of the match from the second game onward. Zahed showed some resistance in the first game which went neck and neck only to see Zahed losing at the fag-end.

There was no stopping Shorbagy from the second game onwards as he started playing masterly game, unleashing some exceptional top-of-the-court drops to unsettle Zahed. He continued in the same vein, going on to win the third with utmost ease for a place in the final. Never during the 30 minutes of the match was there any doubt about the ultimate winner.

When asked whether he had any plans of losing just one game during the Open, Shorbagy said, “Wait for the final. You never know in squash. You have to play well to win every match. Smallest of slackness and you start losing. “Thanks God everything is going fine so far,” he said.

He said Zahed played well. “He showed his true mettle,” he added. There was no smooth sailing for Abouelghar, however. Leo Au gave him tough time and even won the second game.

The Hong Kong player, who had an injury scare during the match, started off well but then let the Egyptian off the hook.Meanwhile, Annie Au of Hong Kong proved too good for Malaysian teenager Sivasangari Subramaniam and won the $25,000 CAS International Squash title.

One of the top players on the women circuit, Annie won 11-5, 11-7, 11-1 to stamp her supremacy at least in Asia.Subramaniam, who had upset Australia’s top girl on her way to the final, failed against the experience of Annie, who toyed with her in the last game. Subramaniam showed glimpses of her talent in the beginning, but once the Hong Kong player exerted pressure she found going tough and ultimately lost the match.

“The Malaysian is a talented girl but she lacks experience,” Annie said after the match. Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, who is Pakistan Squash Federation president, gave trophies to the players. Foreign diplomats, former world champions Jahangir Khan, Qamar Zaman, and Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi also witnessed the match.

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